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I had a plan.

It was a good one.

It was derailed by a certain no-good, dirty, rotten appliance that decided to scoff in the face of crafter’s ego, mechanical destiny, and threats of sledgehammers.

When Junior received an invitation to a birthday party a few days ago, I decided to make a gift for the birthday girl. Her mom enlightened me as to the child’s favorite colors, and I selected yarns in the appropriate pink and purple.

“I will make a messenger bag! Kids love to collect stuff, and a bag to keep it in will be just the thing.”

I spent a cheerful hour stringing yarn over, around, and through the loom, envisioning the finished product and a six-year-old in transports of joy at the sight of her present. Wind yarn onto the beam, tie off the ends, and prepare the shuttles. All systems go. Even the weaving went smoothly. No broken warp threads, no mismatched stripes. All was cool and groovy.

With the main piece of fabric finished, I made a long piece of i-cord for the shoulder strap. Things were still going well; there wasn’t so much as a hint of impending disaster. I bundled each piece into a lingerie bag, tossed them in the washing machine, and set it for hot wash/cold rinse/heavy duty cycle.

A bit of timeline for you here. I found the invitation in Junior’s backpack on Thursday evening. I got the yarn Friday morning, and finished the weaving Friday evening. My plan (Hahahahaha!) was to felt the pieces, dry them, and sew everything together before bed. The washing machine had another plan.

It had apparently learned some select phrases in Old English, and wanted to try them out on me.

The washer filled and began to agitate. It agitated for some time, and then stopped to prepare for the next phase of the wash cycle. About half an hour later, my ears registered the lack of noise coming from the mudroom. A judicious application of thumping, knob twisting, and swearing produced renewed activity from the machine; it began to agitate again.

It also stopped again.

This little production repeated itself three or four times, with the thumping and swearing getting louder, and the knob twisting becoming more violent. In the depths of the machine, my knitted pieces were gradually assuming the size and density of a deluxe edition of War and Peace.

It was almost midnight when I awakened Larry with a poke and a snarl. We began bailing water while I rinsed the remarkably shrunken knitted pieces by hand and hurled them into the dryer. Taking its cue from the washer, the dryer decided to change occupations and become a Ferris Wheel for felt. It tossed everything around, but nothing got dry.

It was at this point that I snapped.


I draped the still-damp pieces over the curtain rod in the bathroom, right under the heater vent, and stomped off to the bedroom. I retrieved them the next morning, now perfectly dry and cushy. I eyed them critically. Nope, too small for the messenger bag I’d intended. A little folding, a little coffee … Ah! I could make a kid-sized backpack!

A few buttonholes, some quick zig-zag stitching, and poof! Junior fussed about modeling the pack while I adjusted the straps, but a cookie gained his cooperation. The finished backpack was wrapped and taken to the party, where it was received with exclamations of glee.

I went home and called the repair man. I won’t tell you what I called the washer.